Information about Royal Mail Postcode Address File

peter wells made this Freedom of Information request to Cabinet Office Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Cabinet Office,

I am trying to understand the details behind the recent press release from the Geospatial Commission titled "Public sector access to Royal Mail Postcode Address File agreed to 2028" (1).

I contacted DSIT, where the Geospatial Commission sits since the recent machinery of government change, but they have informed me that FOI requests relevant to the Geospatial Commission are currently still processed by Cabinet Office (2).

Could you please provide:

i) a link to the published contract
ii) any evaluation of the costs and benefits of the previous contract
ii) any assessment of the costs due to charged by Royal Mail under the new contract
iii) any assessment of alternative options for the provision of address data, for example directly from the Local Land and Property Gazetteers maintained by local authorities

Yours faithfully,

Peter Wells

(1) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/publi...
(2) https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

Dear Peter Wells,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately your email does not constitute a valid request for
information as outlined in section 8(1)(c) of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. The Act does not require public authorities to create new
information or to provide opinion or explanation in order to respond to a
request or query. The purpose of the Act is to consider the confirmation
or provision of recorded information that already exists. Advice on how to
make a valid request can be accessed on the Information Commissioner’s
website at: [1]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

Alternatively, if you would like your email treated as correspondence, you
can contact the Cabinet Office by accessing its web form at the following
website: [2]https://www.gov.uk/guidance/contact-the-...

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

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Dear Cabinet Office team,

thank you for the quick response.

I am not asking for any new information or to provide opinion or explanation, instead I am asking for more information than is provided in the press release [1].

I have restated the request below. For three of the bullets I have added a little extra in [brackets] to make it explicit that I am asking for information that is likely to either already exist to help the Geospatial Commission make the decision outlined in the press release or, in the case of the contract, to deliver on that decision.

-----
Could you please provide:

i) a link to the published contract
ii) any evaluation of the costs and benefits of the previous contract [that was produced to make the decision outlined in the press release]
ii) any assessment of the costs due to charged by Royal Mail under the new contract [that was produced to make the decision outlined in the press release]
iii) any assessment of alternative options for the provision of address data, for example directly from the Local Land and Property Gazetteers maintained by local authorities [that was produced to make the decision outlined in the press release]
-----

Yours sincerely,
Peter Wells

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/publi...

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

Dear Peter Wells,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately your email does not constitute a valid request for
information as outlined in section 8(1)(c) of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. The Act does not require public authorities to create new
information or to provide opinion or explanation in order to respond to a
request or query. The purpose of the Act is to consider the confirmation
or provision of recorded information that already exists. Advice on how to
make a valid request can be accessed on the Information Commissioner’s
website at: [1]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

Unless you have a request for recorded information, we are unable to
respond further regarding your query. 

Alternatively, if you would like your email treated as correspondence, you
can contact the Cabinet Office by accessing its web form at the following
website: [2]https://www.gov.uk/guidance/contact-the-...

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

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Dear Cabinet Office FOI team,

I am not asking for new information, opinion, or explanation I am asking for the provision of information that may have been recorded and may already exist.

The appropriate response would be to either provide the information or apply an exemption for one or more of the four pieces of information that was asked to be provided.

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews within the Cabinet Office. They will be able to read the full chain at WhatDoTheyKnow: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours sincerely,
Peter Wells

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

Dear Peter Wells,
Thank you for your email. Please can clarify specifically the recorded
information you are requesting?
Yours faithfully,
Cabinet Office FOI team

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Hi Cabinet Office FOI Team,

the four pieces of potentially recorded information I am requested was listed in the mail I sent on 4 June, I repeated it - with some clarifications - on 5 June. In the mail I sent on 8 June I requested an internal review of the way the FOI request is being handled.

I am sorry to have to repeat myself again, but could you confirm that the internal review is in progress and that Cabinet Office is either providing the requested four pieces of information or applying valid exemptions?

The internal reviewer can find a record of the various mails at: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours sincerely,
Peter Wells

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

Dear Peter Wells,
Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately we can only conduct an internal review on a Freedom of
Information request that has been processed. We are still at the stage of
determining whether your request is for recorded information.
Please can you provide us with a description of the recorded information
that you are requesting?
Yours faithfully, 
Cabinet Office FOI team

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Hi Cabinet Office FOI team,

thank you for another quick response.

the description of the information I am requesting was in my first and second emails [1]. They continue to seem reasonable descriptions to enable the relevant body to respond.

The linked press release refers to a procurement decision made by the Geospatial Commission, a body for which Cabinet Office is handling FOI requests. The requested information is about the contract for the procurement, and information that may be held as part of the procurement decision making process.

Meanwhile, requiring an FOI request to be "processed" before an internal review can be conducted is not a qualification step that is mentioned in either the gov.uk guidance [2] or the ICO guide for organisations handling FOI requests [3]. I continue to dissatisfied with how you are handling this request for information.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Wells

[1] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...
[2] https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...
[3] https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/foi...

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

Dear Peter Wells,
Thank you for your email.
We are yet to establish whether your email is a request for recorded
information under the Act. Please can you provide us with a description of
the recorded information that you are requesting?

Advice on how to make a valid request can be accessed on the Information
Commissioner’s website at:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici...

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

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peter wells left an annotation ()

A complaint has been made to the ICO concerning:

1) the refusal to accept the request
2) the refusal to perform an internal review until the request is "processed"

peter wells left an annotation ()

The ICO have said that it is their view that this was a valid request for information and have actioned the Cabinet Office to carry out an internal review with an outcome provided by by 6 July 2023.

ICO correspondence to myself: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zBUn2P-...

ICO correspondence to Cabinet Office:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rR1xg-y...

peter wells left an annotation ()

The ICO have told me that they have received confirmation from the Cabinet Office that it is now treating the request as a valid request for information, with a received date of 8 June 2023 and expected response date by 6 July 2023

Dear Cabinet Office FOI team

Under their Case Reference number: IC-238252-F1X0, the ICO informed me that the Cabinet Office confirmed to the regulator that my request was valid and would be responded to by 6 July. Unfortunately it is now 7 July.

I have reported the failure to respond on time to the ICO, again, but would continue to be grateful if you could provide a valid response asap.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Wells

FOI Team Mailbox, Cabinet Office

Dear Peter Wells,
Thank you for your email.
We apologise in our delay in responding to your FOI request,
FOI2023/07665. I can assure you your request is being dealt with and we
aim to have a reply for soon as soon as possible.
Yours faithfully,
Freedom of Information Team
Cabinet Office

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peter wells left an annotation ()

The ICO have written to the Cabinet Office and asked that it respond by 18 July 2023. They have said that if Cabinet Office do not respond by that then date then it will be found in breach of section 10 of FOIA and compelled to respond.

Cabinet Office FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear Peter Wells,

Please find attached our response to your recent Freedom of Information
request (reference FOI2023/07665).

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Cabinet Office

Dear Cabinet Office,

Thank you for the response

Best wishes,

Peter Wells